GECOM waives COVID vaccine requirement for 14-17 age group


See below full statement issued by the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM):

11th March 2022, GEORGETOWN – The Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) is absolutely cognizant that national registration of all eligible persons is a legal requirement as it is a constitutional obligation for it to register such persons.

However, whereas, the responsibility for creating the conditions for and the actual registration of such persons is vested in GECOM, the Commission could not be unmindful of the prevalence of the Covid-19 virus, and the need to ensure the protection and safety of its staff. Accordingly, prior to the commencement of the ongoing Registration Exercise, internal Covid-19 guidelines aimed at protecting GECOM Registration personnel was prepared and circulated to all GECOM Registration Offices for compliance.

The guidelines were prepared in accordance with the provisions of Regulation 8 of the Gazetted Subsidiary Legislation – Regulations No. 1 of 2022 – The Public Health Ordinance dated Friday 28th January, 2022, which stipulates that “every employer under this regulation shall ensure that appropriate COVID-19 guidelines are prepared and implemented to reduce the risk of transmission of the virus among workers to protecting employees against becoming infected with the Covid-19 Virus”.

Notwithstanding the foregoing, and in recognition of the fact that many persons in the 14-17 years old age range might not have been able to be vaccinated for want of being in possession of National Identification Cards, because they were never registered, a decision was taken to waive the vaccination requirement for this age group.

This decision was taken in consultation with the respective Chief Scrutineers of the A Partnership for National Unity+Alliance for Change (APNU+AFC) and the People’s Progressive Party (PPP), respectively.

In this regard, an Internal Memorandum dated March 9, 2022, was dispatched electronically to all of the Commission’s Registration Officers instructing that the vaccination requirement be waived to allow for unvaccinated eligible persons between the ages of 14-17 years old to be registered.

However, persons within this age range visiting any GECOM Registration Office to apply for registration must adhere to the routine Covid-19 preventative measures e.g. correct wearing of masks, sanitizing, and practicing social distancing.

With specific reference to the provision that requires persons 18 years old and over must be fully vaccinated in order to visit any GECOM Registration Office to conduct registration transactions, the Commission will deliberate on this matter at its next Statutory Meeting, to determine a conclusive approach regarding this category of unvaccinated persons who may wish to conduct registration transactions.

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